The Nevada, U.S.-based company has developed a 3D screen printing technology for the manufacture of structured tablets that enables the controlled release of active pharmaceutical ingredients over time. Multiple ingredients can also be combined into one pill. Evonik’s specialized polymers ensure targeted delivery of the active ingredients in the novel tablets.
Laxxon’s 3D screen printing gives the tablets different layers. The inner structure of the pill can, for example, have alternative layers of active ingredient and inert layers. This design allows for several doses of the drug to be released over time. In another design multiple drugs can be layered on top of each other, thus combining several pills into one. The size, geometry, inner structure, and materials used all combine to allow ideal kinetics – the speed of chemical reactions in the body – for the release of the active ingredients.
“This technology is great for patients. We expect fewer side effects from a more controlled drug delivery and having fewer pills reduces the risk of forgetting doses during the day,” said Bernhard Mohr, head of Evonik Venture Capital. “We are pleased to support innovation that brings real benefits to people and their health.”
Another benefit of the technology is the speed of printing, which is significantly faster than established 3D printing processes allowing mass production. The new technology could generate opportunities to extend patents for pharmaceutical companies because of improved drug delivery.
Evonik has 60 years of experience with drug delivery systems. The company makes excipients – an inactive substance that serves as the vehicle for a drug. For example, polymers serve as a coating for tablets allowing for the active ingredient to be released either immediately after being swallowed or after a certain delay or providing a sustained release over time.
Evonik’s products will be used in Laxxon’s printing pastes. In addition, Evonik and Laxxon have signed a joint product development and cooperation agreement. Based on this agreement, Evonik intends to manufacture tablets for Laxxon.
The technology is relevant to Evonik’s innovation growth fields Healthcare Solutions and Additive Manufacturing. “Drug delivery is becoming more high-precision and increasingly targets specific patient groups,” said Thomas Riermeier, head of Evonik’s Heath Care business line. “The collaboration with Laxxon will allow us to accelerate our activities in this important and emerging market.”
Laxxon was founded in 2017 by Helmut Kerschbaumer, Klaus Kuehne and Achim Schneeberger in Switzerland and is since 2021 headquartered in the U.S. with a German and a Swiss subsidiary.
“Evonik is the perfect partner to support the development of tablets with unique release properties,” said Kerschbaumer, who is also chief executive officer of Laxxon. “We are happy to have one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies with which we can further develop our products and at the same time commercially manufacture them.”